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1. Figure out what success means to you. Do you have to make $40 million a year and be on JT status? Or is a solid income from your musical abilities and a loyal following enough? If your head’s in the right place you can be successful. 2. Determine the demographic of your true fans. Test your music and sound on different groups of people before you do a full blown marketing campaign. Concentrate on the groups that respond the best, looking at gender and age. Wasting time and money just to feel cool does not help the cause. 3. Put together a great team. Most successful people surround themselves with like-minded individuals, who are equally motivated and dedicated. You can start with family or close friends who truly stand behind you. Give them tasks that help reduce stressful situations—this will open up more opportunities and allow you to focus on the music. Treat your team well and they will help propel your career. 4. Structure your marketing campaign before you start promoting yourself. It’s great to hear your voice on a song or see your video online, but if you and your mom are the only ones listening, what’s the point? Have clear goals and a plan around why you are releasing your product. Use YouTube as a direct link to your target audience, with views, likes and organic growth as the goal. Spending money doesn’t equal success. 5. Enjoy what you do. The days are short and in this business we all hear “No” more than we ever hear “Yes!” Make sure you enjoy the journey. Be yourself and smile! You are your product and music is supposed to be fun.
1. If you remix it and take the lyrics away, it’s now an instrumental version that can be licensed to film and TV. 2. If you re-record it live, you can release that version as a live single. 3. If you re-record it acoustically, it can now be sold as the unplugged version. 4. If you sing it in another language, it is now a translation suitable for new markets. 5. If you remix it with a guest DJ, it can now be the electronic dance version. 6. If you compile it with six or 10 other songs, it can become part of an album or compilation. 7. If you offer the recorded stems to your individual track, it can be an "interactive product" where fans can create new mixes and share them with each other. 8. If you allow the song to be experienced (heard, critiqued) in real-time during the writing and production phase, it can be an exclusive content perk to paying fan club members. 9. If you take the words from the song's chorus and place them on T-shirts and hats, it becomes a cool piece of merch. 10. If you create a video of the song being performed and/or acted out, it can be part of a DVD collection of video singles with other songs and/or used as a tool to generate advertising revenue on video sites. 11. If you film yourself while writing and recording the song, it can be part of your "making of" video. 12. If you transcribe the music into printed form, it can be a piece of sheet music. 13. If you keep the broken drumsticks, skins, picks, and other tools that were used during the recording of the song, they can be sold as collectors’ items. 14. If you pile a number of the items discussed above into a classy box, it can be a cool limited box set that your fans might find as a great value and must-have item.
As social media continues to evolve, defining the “rules of engagement” will encourage thoughtful interaction that benefits the business, brand, customer, peers, and prospects at every touchpoint. In the end, we earn the attention, relationships and business we deserve. The following is an outline of best practices to help you craft a practical set of rules to guide representatives as they engage. 1. Discover all relevant communities of interest and observe the choices, challenges, impressions, and wants of the people within each network. 2. Don’t just participate solely in your own domains (Facebook Fan Page, Twitter conversations related to your brand, etc.). Participate where your presence is advantageous and mandatory. 3. Determine the identity, character, and personality of the brand and match it to the persona of the individuals representing it online. 4. Establish a point of contact who is ultimately responsible for identifying, trafficking, or responding to all things that can affect brand perception. 5. As in customer service, representatives require training to learn how to proactively and reactively respond across multiple scenarios. Don’t just put the person familiar with social networking in front of the brand. 6. Embody the attributes you wish to portray and instill. Operate by a code of conduct. 7. Observe the behavioral cultures within each network and adjust your outreach accordingly. 8. Assess pain points, frustrations, and also those of contentment in order to establish meaningful connections. 9. Become a true participant in each community you wish to activate. Move beyond marketing and sales. 10. Don’t speak at audiences through canned messages. Introduce value, insight and direction with each engagement. 11. Empower your representatives to offer rewards and resolutions in times of need. 12. Don’t just listen and placate — act. Do something. 13. Ensure that any external activities are supported by a comprehensive infrastructure to address situations and adapt to market conditions and demands. 14. Learn from each engagement and provide a path within the company to adapt and improve products and services. 15. Consistently create, contribute, and reinforce service and value. 16. Earn connections through collaboration and empower advocacy. 17. Don’t get lost in translation. Ensure your communication and intent is clear and that your involvement maps to objectives created for the social web. 18. Establish and nurture beneficial relationships online and in the real world as long as doing so is important to your business. 19. "Un-campaign" and create ongoing programs that keep you connected to day-to-day engagement. 20. "Un-market" by becoming a resource to your communities. 21. Give back, reciprocate, and recognize notable contributions from participants in your communities.
As the new year approaches, people around the world are making lists of resolutions—hit the gym more than once a month, replace some of the takeout with home cooked meals, make smarter financial decisions—the list goes on. While we too are putting together our list of resolutions, we’re also thinking about where the music industry is headed for independent artists in 2014. This year we saw incredible growth in streaming music and ever-increasing revenue for independent artists, especially for songwriters from publishing royalties. So what’s next? Here are our five music industry predictions for 2014… 1. Artists focus on monetization. Artists will turn to Publishing Administrators to secure new sources of revenue with a focus on collecting money from YouTube for both their sound recording and composition. In doing so, artists will focus even more attention on YouTube as a social network and place for engagement, contesting, and announcements. 2. More artists start promotion early with pre-orders. Pre-orders will no longer only be the territory for high-profile artist releases. More artists will embrace the ability to include a link to purchase on iTunes during the marketing period leading up to release date. It is easy now to offer fans instant grat tracks with their pre-order purchase. Plus, all of these pre-order sales register on release day, helping albums rise up the iTunes charts. 3. Management is the new indie label. Managers assemble hand-picked teams to support their artists, hiring the publicist, selecting their distribution partner, connecting bands with a booking agent, contracting special marketing companies… and based on their success, the band and manager have a real choice to maintain their independence or they also have a much more valuable story to bring to a major label when considering a deal. 4. Streaming radio becomes something to watch. iTunes Radio is extremely convenient for users, and while it still needs to improve on its discovery suggestions and listener experience, with a few adjustments, it will usher in a fierce challenge to competitive streaming services. 5. Market through video. Vine and Instagram video will grow in importance for marketing by bands and artists. The video elements allow creative messages with music to fans. These posts are much more capable of “going viral” compared to a Facebook post.
1) Define Your Brand and What It Offers: What do you do? What services or goods do you offer and to whom? What are you really good at? What is the culture and/or business climate you would like people to pick up on? What sets you apart from your competitors? You should use clear and concise language in this defining process. Words such as efficient, effective, collaborative, innovative, community oriented, diplomatic and visionary can be implemented into your brand definition and what it is you offer. 2) Make Your Presence Known: These days with numerous search engines and, more importantly, social media, it is not hard to develop a presence in a community and/or market you plan to flourish in. Trademark that name and logo and blast it. Set up a website to highlight your personal and professional accolades. Make sure there is a direct correlation between what you are offering either individually or as a company, the brand and the logo. 3) Utilize Others to Further Promote Your Brand: Two words that are associated with my name, individually and as an attorney, are “efficient” and “timely”. I work fast and I get things done when they need to be done. One of my clients always introduces me to other potential clients and colleagues by referencing how fast I get things done. I follow this up with a business card that has my logo on it to take full advantage of other’s willingness to help promote my brand. I also have an accountant who is trustworthy, efficient and cost effective. Whenever someone needs a referral for an accountant, I send them his name and specifically tie it in with his company name as well. 4) Presentation Is Everything, Come Correct: While you are promoting your brand, either through the direct goods or services you are providing or via networking, put your best foot forward. This includes personal presentation and honesty. Do not promote yourself or your brand as something it is not, or as a portal of providing something it can’t. This is a sure fire way to diminish your brand and have negative associations before you can adequately build. 5) Listen to What People Say: Your brand, despite how you envisioned it to come across, may not be exactly how others view it. If you are branding yourself as the top designer or stylist in the world, yet your clients are always on the worst dressed lists of major publications, there may be a disconnect in what you are presenting and what is being perceived. Additionally, if your company advertises and promotes its brand as low carb/low calorie snack, but Dateline uncovers there are 400 calories per serving……you my friend may have a problem and damage control may be imminent. Make sure the look, perception and personality of your brand lines up with how your consumers and clients speak of you.
ere's How: Play Live: Playing live is an obvious choice when it comes to making money as a musician. You can make money through show guarantees, door split deals or even passing around a tip jar. Of course, if you don't have much a proven track record when it comes to pulling in an audience, you're not in a great position to demand large fees. Building up to this will take time. Every little bit helps, though, and even if you go home with $15, take the long term view and treat each low paying gig as a step towards increasing your earning potential. Selling merch can help a lot, which brings up to our next point... Sell Your Music: Well, duh, you think. Of course you should sell your music, but the trick here is to make sure your fans don't have to look far to find it. Digital distribution is a must, whether you go through an aggregator that places your music all over the net for you or if you approach services on your own, one by one. Selling music at shows is also important. You can sell CD-Rs at shows, as long as you price them accordingly and make it clear that they are CD-Rs when you sell them. If you're pressing physical copies, check out your local record shops to get them in on consignment (some shops also accept CD-Rs). Sell Merch: Diversifying what you have to sell will boost your earning potential. This doesn't mean get 5000 t-shirts made at some price that will make your credit card weep. Make your own t-shirts, buttons/badges, stickers and so on and sell them at your shows and on your website. Merch does especially well at shows, after your fans have just seen you play and are all caught up in the spirit, and as long as you keep your overhead down, merch can give your income a nice little boost. Play Other People's Music: The talents that you hope will allow you to make a career out of playing music can help you make ends meet until the day you get to play your songs exclusively. Session musician work for other musicians can help you bridge the financial gap and make some extra money. As a bonus, you'll be honing your own skills and meeting people who can create opportunities for you. Musical Odd Jobs: OK, so the point here is to move away from your day job, but if you need to make some extra money, doing something music related - even if it doesn't specifically involve YOUR music - is a good choice. Much like working as a session music, the idea here is to use your knowledge and talents to help other musicians (and get paid for it). Are you a great producer? Get some studio work. Are you a pro at booking shows? Do it for other musicians. Got design skills? Do cover art or websites for musicians or music related businesses. Tap into your music skills to put some extra money in your pocket.
2. Why do songwriters need a Publishing Administrator? Can't I just do it on my own? While you can go it alone, collecting songwriter royalties yourself is an incredibly time-consuming task. It can take 6-12 months to establish your identity and create accounts with dozens of societies around the world. Equally challenging is the fact that these societies don't all speak your language and pay in your currency. It's also pretty pricey to take on collecting songwriter royalties. By the time you register with all the PROs and local societies,plus pay your yearly fees, you'll likely have spent around $7,800. 3. Between what ASCAP (and other PROs like BMI and SESAC)collect and what I get from my digital music sales and streams, what other royalties am I missing? It's important to be affiliated with a PRO like ASCAP, BMI or SESAC to collect many of your performance royalties, but there are additional royalties you're missing out on without a Publishing Administrator.That's why you need to be represented by both. For example, the mechanical royalties due from streams, downloads (outside of the U.S.& Latin America) and physical sales aren't collected by PROs. The digital stores that stream and sell downloads don't have your songwriter information, so the money goes unclaimed. That's where your Publishing Administrator swoops in. They'll register your information with all of the stores and local societies so you receive the money your compositions are generating. A Publishing Administrator may also license and collect royalties for print, ringtones, and synchronization fees (for film and TV licenses).
The term "Publishing Administration" gets thrown around a lot in the music industry, and if you're a songwriter, it's critical that you understand what it means, how it works, and what your options are. I put together a list of 10 things to know and ask before choosing a Publishing Administrator for your music, so you can get the maximum songwriter royalties possible. 1. What exactly is Publishing Administration when it comes to music? In the music industry, songwriters earn royalties when their compositions are downloaded, streamed, and used around the world. And it's the job of a Publishing Administrator to register the songwriters' compositions around the world, monitor when and where the compositions are used, license compositions for use, collectthe royalties generated, and then distribute them to the songwriters. For any history enthusiasts out there, the term "music publishing" originally referred to publishers of sheet music, as sheet music used to be the primary commercial use of musical compositions. Today, music publishing has split off from the sheet music business, and the large music publishers tend not to produce sheet music.
. Social Networking Sites like Twitter, Facebook, and even Youtube, when used correctly, are proving to be the most effective ways to build your fan base and keep them updated. Make it a point to follow other successful artists to see how they are using these tools to their advantage. 2. Creating An Artist Concept What do you represent? What are you about? The answers to these questions are key to finding a fan base. Whether it’s connecting with avid weed smokers or others who share your political philosophy, being consistent with your message helps attract fans to you because you become a spokesman for their lifestyle. Trying to be everything to everybody never works. And if you haven’t already noticed by now, lyrical skill and banging beats are not a sure winning formula for success. We now live in an era where J.Cole and Lil B can coexist and be successful in hip hop. Just make sure you’re not being boring. 3. Video Audio is good, visual is better. It stimulates an extra sense. This is a good thing when done well. Fans are more likely to pass around something visually entertaining than something that’s just audio. You don’t need a big budget to create something visually clever and entertaining to accompany your music. 4. Mixtapes Free mixtapes and EPs are still proving to be effective for artist. These are done best, in my opinion, when the performances are mostly over original beats. Keep in mind that your beats are an important part of establishing your signature sound as well. 5. Frequent Releases Release music and release it often! People have a short attention span and short-term memory. Keep them engaged. Don’t let them forget about you. 6. Physical Products Tangible products are still cool. True fans still want to have something physical in their possession. CDs still sell. I’d personally like to see usb flash drives fully replace the CD format. It’s a great way give your fans extra media such as videos, pics, and higher quality files of your music. There are a lot of cool ways you can distribute them too. There are customizable usb wristbands and other cool things you can do with them. Hip hop has been the setting the trends for a long time and I believe that if our community started to collectively support a different and better format for the music, that it would no doubt become the standard for the industry as a whole. 7. Collaborations We’re now starting to see artists from different sides of track doing more collabs these days. Why? Because they’ve figured out that it’s more productive than beefing and hatin’. You may think that other artist is garbage, but he could have and audience that’s not familiar with your music and one that would most likely become fans of yours if you two did a joint together. Beefs don’t have the shelf life they used to. Hip hop is evolving and there’s more benefit in making allies instead of enemies 8. Live Shows I always tell artist. When you hit the stage, make sure the audience remembers you afterwards. I don’t care what you do, but leave an impression. Get your performance tight. Most of the time, this is your best opportunity to sell your music and merch. This is the time to make that audience become a believer. Do your homework. Go to Youtube and search for the live shows of other artists. Study how they put it together and work the crowd. Then make the proper adjustments and tweaks to your own show..
There used to be a time when a rapper could put out a mixtape using popular beats. And as long as that artist wasn’t selling it, he didn’t have to worry much about the beatmaker coming after him for any sort of copyright infringement. Well those days are quickly becoming a thing of the past. Some independent hip hop artists are now building successful careers off of buzzes created by these free mixtapes. And now the beatmakers are starting to feel used and abused. A popular mixtape, for an artists, can lead to well paid shows and even a major label deal. Producers and beatmakers are starting to feel like they have played a role in the success of these artists, and are reaping no benefits. Some of these artists neglect to give credit to the music source, so there isn’t even a promotional benefit to those that composed the music. Now that were living in a digital age, visible credit for those who contributed to these recordings are becoming obsolete. I personally used to enjoy looking at the liner notes in albums and CDs to see who produced, mixed, and mastered the songs I enjoyed listening to. Now that we’re in the era of mp3′s, finding those credits require some thorough digging…if it’s even available. Artists like Mac Miller and others are finding out that those producers who feel wronged by this practice can wait for years before filing a lawsuit against you. So it doesn’t matter that you may not be famous yet. You may get sued for your very first mixtape by a producer who could make the claim that he contributed to your success. It may be hard to convince the courts of that claim, but even fighting a case against you like this could be costly. So what do you do? I suppose the best thing to do is to get clearance from the producers. But many feel that this is too much trouble to go though for a project that’s not going to be sold. But beware, information these days travels fast, especially when you start creating a buzz. Usually the safest and most respectful thing to do is to always give credit if you use someones music without permission. Oftentimes that’s all people want in a matter like this. They don’t want to feel misused and disrespected.